Monday, May 21, 2018

In March, 'release of deeds of trust' down 23 percent

A release of a deed of trust is an event that occurs when a deed of trust (often referred to as  a mortgage) is paid off, either through refinance, sale, or when all payments have been completed on a home loan. It is a "positive" economic indicator in sense that areas with improving economies tend to generally also report increases in releases of deeds of trust.

Other factors can be important as well. In cases where there is a housing shortage, but other economic indicators are robust, we might also see declining release activity. It's not always easy to know which factors are the key factors in whether or not releases are going up or down. 

Since early 2017, the general trend in release activity has been downward. In March 2018, releases totaled 21,304. That's up 11 percent from February 2018, when releases totaled 19,095. Overall, however, monthly data shows that monthly release totals have fallen repeatedly since December 2016's peak of 33,943:

Looking at annual totals, we find that 2017's total was down from 302,249, dropping to 297,151. That's still above 2015's total, however, and well above 2014's totals. 

The trend in year-over-year changes has also shown a decline. Over the past nine months, releases have been down every month, when compared to the same month a year earlier. In March 2018, releases were down 23 percent, compared to March of 2017 — when releases totaled 27,798. 

Another factor at work may be rising interest rates. Since re-finance activity is a factor in releases, and since re-fi's often slow as rates increase, we may be seeing slowing release activity as a result of significant increases in  mortgage rates over the past year. Mortgage rates are now the highest they've been since 2013:

For more on historical release activity in Colorado, see here.